Layla’s Birth Story
20 non stress tests. About 12 ultrasounds. 644 needle pricks. 67 shots of insulin.
1 healthy baby girl.
That’s how this story begins and ends.
But let’s rewind just one day, to March 12.
That Thursday came around and Jonathan went to work as we had planned. I had pretty much everything ready for our little girl’s arrival. Her room was ready. Her clothes were washed. Our bags were packed. I spent most of my time that day just cherishing my last moments with only one child. Alethea and I read books, watched Muppet Babies, and played together.
I struggled to hold it together the night before when I read her last bedtime story as an only child. Honestly, I thought it would be my last time putting her to bed for a long time. The new baby would have my attention at bedtime now. That thought really hit me hard and I lost it when I kissed her goodnight and closed her bedroom door. I cried for a while and Jonathan held me and assured me that he’d do as much as he could to make the transition a smooth one.
Jonathan came home from work around 2:30, which was early for him. We finished some cleaning, and ate our last dinner as a family of 3. Tacos of course! Then we got in the car and drove to my parent’s house where Alethea would stay for 3 nights while we were in the hospital. Most of my siblings were there as well, and they all prayed over us for safety and a healthy baby before we kissed Alethea goodnight, and told her the next time she saw us, her baby sister would be born!
Everyone had been trying to figure out her name since we found out we were having another girl. Besides me and Jonathan, Alethea is the only other person who knew what her name was. We thought it would be best to tell her early so she’d have a chance to practice and get really good at saying it. She was able to pronounce the baby’s name better than her own! (This is still the case. Haha) Several family members tried to coax it out of her, and a few times she actually told them. However, because everyone had a preconceived idea of what it should be, they weren’t able to comprehend the name. Everyone was assuming it would start with an A, since Aria and Alethea do.
We have given all our girls a flower middle name. It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do! Aria Rose. Alethea Iris. So to me, that was the most fun when someone tried to guess her middle name.
I wasn’t scheduled to be induced until 10pm that night, so after we left my parents house, we came back home, and our pastor came over for a few minutes to pray with us. I had to call labor and delivery an hour before our arrival time to make sure they had an available bed, and sure enough, we were good to go!
Because it was so late, we had to go into the hospital through the emergency room, and be escorted to labor and delivery. They offered me a wheel chair, but I decided I probably could use the exercise since I’d be stuck in bed for possibly the next 24 hours. It was a good decision, even though I had been dealing with the worst hip pain I’d ever experienced.
I had been praying for weeks that the on call doctor would not be the one doctor in the practice who I didn’t like. When we arrived, the on call doctor said he’d be leaving soon and the one I didn’t like would be there all the next day, and would deliver my baby. Somehow, even though it was not what I wanted at all, a wave of peace came over me.
The next 10 hours were rough. After they began the process of induction, they told me to get some sleep. Anyone who has ever tried to sleep in a hospital knows that it doesn’t come easily, and once you finally get to sleep, they’ll be in to wake you up and check your vitals anyways.
Our baby girl had been so active. All of my non stress tests were quite stressful for me because she kept moving around and leaving the monitor. That’s exactly what happened all night long this night as well. Every 15 minutes, she would disappear from the monitor, and a nurse would come running in to readjust. If I rolled over, or even moved just a tiny bit in the bed, she would disappear again. About the fourth time that happened, a new nurse had just came on for the next couple of hours and she noticed my blood pressure was very low. This had been normal for me my entire pregnancy. It wasn’t a good thing, especially in the mornings when I’d nearly pass out. But she was pretty concerned at how low it was. So now, instead of checking my vitals every two hours, I had a nurse coming in every half hour.
Needless to say, I didn’t sleep at all that night.
Finally, about 8:30, the doctor came in and said “Well, you’re about 2cm. I’m going to break your water and move things along.”
They say when you’re water breaks naturally, it’s either a trickle or a gush. Just seconds after the doctor had left the room, I said to the nurse, “Um…is this supposed to happen?” She jumped back and ran to get some help. There was literally a waterfall of amniotic fluid coming off of my bed. I couldn’t help but laugh.
My contractions really started to pick up, and were just 3 minutes apart by 11am. The nurse asked me if I was considering an epidural and I wanted to put it off as long as possible. By the time I reached 4cm, I couldn’t take the pain anymore. It was shocking to me because that isn’t how it went with Alethea at all. I figured I would be able to make it much longer.
The anesthesiologist came in, asked me a bunch of questions, and there was a concern that my blood pressure would drop even more once the epidural was complete. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. After a terrifying 20 minutes of staying by my side to monitor me, the nurse had to give me an injection to bring my blood pressure back up.
After that, I was so exhausted that I fell right to sleep. It was a good thing too, because not even two hours later, I woke up shaking and knew it was time. The nurse came in and was so surprised I had reached 10cm already. My contractions never got closer than 3 minutes apart. She called for the delivery team, and while they were getting set up, she wanted me to do a few practice pushes. It went like this: “Okay Ellen. Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in and — STOP!” I stopped and she said “I am not delivering a baby today! Get the doctor in here right now!”
The doctor arrived, and at 1:38pm, with one push, our baby girl was born. “You can’t beat that record!” she said. I laid there with tears streaming down my face, holding our precious little girl, praising God for making her delivery so easy.
Layla Grace Jalosky
March 13, 2020
It happened so fast that Jonathan didn’t even have a chance to pass out this time. He was so happy and even got to cut the cord!
We spent the next several hours with just the 3 of us. The staff had informed us when we arrived at the hospital that the visitor policy had changed that day, due to the corona virus. Only one person would be able to come visit us in our room. I was severely disappointed. My sister Kara was going to come and photograph Alethea meeting Layla for the first time. That meant that Jonathan would have to go out and get Alethea and bring her back by himself. My mom wouldn’t be able to bring her, and we would have no photos. I begged the staff to let my sister come back so that I could have photos of this moment, and they said since she’s a photographer, they would permit it. I was so happy, and when they arrived, they actually let it all slide, and my mom come back as well. I am so happy to have these photos of that day. I got Alethea a book about being a big sister and we read it to her when she came in. She held Layla on my lap and was so excited. She really did know what was going on even though we weren’t sure if she understood while I was pregnant.
The next day, the entire hospital shut down to visitors as the stay at home order was set in place. So no one else was able to come visit. It ended up being a good thing because Layla had a very hard time passing her hearing test. Saturday and Sunday the lady who did the test tried and tried, and couldn’t get the machine to work properly. Finally, after almost 2 hours of excruciating testing on Sunday, she passed and we were able to go home.
The weeks ahead were very difficult, not just because we had a newborn, but because Jonathan had to go back to work – I had no one to help me at all, thanks to the virus – and I couldn’t even leave the house. We had to celebrate birthdays and holidays all by ourselves. It was and has been a very rough time. Layla still hasn’t met some of her great grandparents.
God has been gracious to us though, through it all. He’s never left my side. I praise Him for a happy and healthy baby girl.
Oh and if you are wondering “Is Grace a flower name?” Yes, it is! There is an English Rose named Grace. It’s an apricot colored flower that is absolutely gorgeous.
All the photos in the hospital were taken by my sister, Kara Abbey! Thank you Kara!